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No credibility for  Najib to talk about good governance to justify the  RM4.4 billion burden as a result of the hefty oil price increases when there are  no  results in campaign against corruption, wastage of public funds and inefficient public service delivery system in 28 months

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Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang  
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(Parliament
, Thursday): There is no credibility for Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to talk about good governance to justify the  RM4.4 billion burden  imposed on Malaysians as a result of the hefty oil price increases when there are  no  results in the campaign against corruption, wastage of public funds and inefficient public service delivery system after 28 months of the new administration.

It is all very well for Najib to  call on Malaysians to change their lifestyle and adapt to the inevitable fuel price increase, but is the government and its leaders, including Cabinet Ministers, prepared to set the example of such  lifestyle change?  If so, how are the Cabinet Ministers and government officials going to set an example of such lifestyle change?

 

Najibís assertion that there is no reason for traders to increase the prices of goods and services has been debunked by the relentless rise of prices as a result of  the hefty oil price increases two days ago, as illustrated the following table on hawker prices in Johor Baru by New Straits Times today:

 

Hawker prices in Johor Baru

 

Item                Yesterday(RM)        Today(RM)

Chicken rice                3                          3.50

Wantan noodle            3                          3.50

Curry noodle               3                          3.50

Fishball noodle            3                          3.50

Fried bee hoon            1                          1.20

A cup of Milo              1                          1.10

A cup of coffee            1                         1.10

Watermelon (slice)   0.60                        1.00

 

Najib has not made any credible case for the heftiest oil price increases in the nationís history, i.e. 30 sen increase per litre of petrol and diesel and per kilo of LPG,  which will cause a most vicious inflationary  spiral of prices.

 

The first oil price increases under the Abdullah administration was on 1st May 2004, with petrol and diesel up by 2 sen per litre, and liquefied  petroleum gas (LPG) increased by 2 sen per kilo. This mirrored the last oil price increases under the Mahathir administration, which was  also 2 sen per litre for petrol and diesel and per kilo for LPG in March 2003.

 

Similarly, Najib has not made a convincing case that the RM4.4 billion government savings would benefit the public. This is not the first time that a Cabinet Committee has been set up after the government has given its green-light to oil price increases.

 

If the Cabinet Committee on Public Transport that has been set up after the latest round of oil price increases is to make a real impact, members of the Cabinet Committee should not only be identified but be required to rely solely on public transport for a week for them  to fully understand the woes of the sorry state of public transportation in the country.

 

Rocketing world oil prices are a boon not only to the government in terms of higher oil revenues but also for  the coffers  of  Petronas.  Malaysians are not convinced why they should not benefit from the nation  being a net oil exporter and why there should not be greater accountability, transparency and parliamentary scrutiny in the disbursement of Petronas funds from its vast profits, especially when there had been extravagant and profligate expenditures in the past which had not been properly accounted to the people.


(02/03/2006)     
                                                      


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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